How the loveable giant has amassed over 12 million downloads since retiring from football
As a professional footballer, Peter Crouch was capped 42 times by England. He scored 22 goals for his country and appeared at two FIFA World Cup tournaments.
His club record is equally impressive. He’s one of only 29 players to have scored 100 Premier League goals, having made 468 appearances for seven clubs.
These remarkable stats are often overshadowed by his physique. At 6 ft 7 in, “Crouchy” was targeted on and off the pitch by those who doubted his abilities.
“I felt I had to prove myself every time I played.”Peter Crouch
Before retiring, Peter teamed up with BBC Radio 5 Live to release That Peter Crouch Podcast. It’s since spawned into five series and has become one of the BBC’s most downloaded podcasts ever.
In 2019, it was played over 12 million times.
He and his co-hosts have also interviewed Prince William and Louis Theroux, to name a couple.
This begs the following questions. How has a former England striker built one of the UK’s most successful podcasts? And what can other podcasters learn from his success?
“It’s the mother-f*cking DRE!”
I nearly crashed my car after hearing this line.
I’ve never laughed so hard.
Crouchy tells the story of meeting Premier League referee, Andre Mariner. Andre tells Peter he’s never introduced himself as “Dre” — like rap icon Dr. Dre — despite claims he had.
After dropping this F-bomb, the two co-hosts, Chris and Tom, howl with laughter and sing The Next Episode. They then reference the sorts of things Andre Marriner must do before a game.
“He must have Beats by Dre headphones… He’s had a large night out, he leaves a couple of girls in the hotel — ‘just off to ref a game’. Music’s blaring, riding in one of those hydraulic cars…”Chris Stark
Each episode starts with a theme, but they’re often derailed. In That Champions League Episode, they spend ten minutes discussing Crouchy’s underwear being packed by his kit man.
For this reason, the podcast has received negative reviews. One came from BBC Radio 4 critics. Rather than shy away, the hosts read the comments during an episode.
This helps reinforce an “us vs them” mentality, and fans love it. This was epitomised by over 3,000 listeners attending Crouchfest. Back in June 2019, the podcast hosted a one-night event held in London’s Indiego arena.
Special guests included Liam Gallagher and Katherine Jenkins, and there are talks of Crouchfest 2.
You wouldn’t put it past them filling the main O2 Arena.
Podcast takeaway: Don’t be afraid to alienate listeners. If your podcast is for everyone, it will be loved by no one.
“Oooohh, cycling friends!”
The chemistry between Peter, Tom, and Chris seems effortless.
Take one of them out and it wouldn’t work.
They’re also happy to poke fun at each other. Tom is mocked for cycling and Acid Jazz. Chris is rinsed for calling the Sistine Chapel the “Sixteenth”.
In That Houses Episode, Crouchy’s heckled for nearly spending £50,000 on a slide.
There’s no pretentiousness. They’re three men talking about football and having a laugh.
When they first started, Crouchy admits he had no plans for where this would take him.
“When Tom asked me about this, I didn’t know what a podcast was.”Peter Crouch
This humbleness shines through in That Samrat Episode. The lads deliver a live podcast at Crouchy’s local curry house for the series one finale.
When sharing stories with former Premier League striker, Dion Dublin, Peter explains how he developed.
“If it wasn’t for listening and learning and taking it all in, I wouldn’t be sitting here in the Samrat with my own podcast!”Peter Crouch
We also hear from important people in Peter’s life, including his father, Bruce Crouch. There’s a realness to the podcast which defies expectations.
Podcast takeaway: Stay humble. Even if only one person tunes in to listen to your podcast, that’s one person who could be doing something else.
A throwaway comment by Crouchy at the end of That Tactics Episode has turned into a defining motto.
“We’ll be back stronger.”Peter Crouch
As soon as he said it, a resounding “what the hell was that?” spills from his lips. Even his co-hosts and production team chuckle in the background.
It’s a phrase Peter repeated in series one, and the podcast is now synonymous with #backstronger. As well as having its own hashtag, Crouchy used it to pull a prank on his wife.
The result? A fake tattoo and a hilarious phone call.
The heart of the podcast is its community. It started with the hosts encouraging listeners to “pass the pod” to their friends. One listener even got the podcast into space.
At the start of episodes, they answer questions from listeners. These questions often take a life of their own.
In series five, for example, one listener suggested “Sprayonnaise” as a business idea. It’s simply Mayonnaise you can spray from a bottle.
The idea was picked up by Heinz and limited-edition prototypes have been produced. There are even talks it could launch nationwide.
It’s not just #backstronger. There are a bunch of words associated with the podcast that listeners appreciate.
P*ss off Karl, Roy Keane gallery, patio drives, Baby Divrat, Tony “Poolis”, The Dube, Vanuatu…
And then there was Crouchfest. Originally, the hosts wanted to call it Crouchella, but Coachella blocked the move.
This didn’t dampen spirits, though. Over 3,000 people turned out for the one-night show. Tickets cost just £12.50 and it’s clear their intentions were in the right place.
“We won’t make any money from this. We just wanted to put a great show on for you listeners!”Chris Stark
After all, these guys don’t need the podcast. Tom Fordyce is the chief sports writer for the BBC. Chris Stark is a popular DJ. Crouchy has turned his hand to broadcasting.
They do the podcast because they love it.
Performing at Crouchfest, You Me At Six sums it up best.
There’s no doubt having a production team helps. Technically speaking, the podcast is flawless.
The timing also couldn’t have been better. The first series aired in September 2018, just before podcasts hit the mainstream.
It was also the first of its kind (i.e. a professional footballer sharing their insights.)
And let’s not forget the other tailwind advantage which is Peter Crouch himself. He’s an incredibly funny, likeable guy, and nobody seems to have a bad word to say about the man.
With all this being said, none of this would matter if it wasn’t a great podcast. It’s the only podcast I’m genuinely excited about listening to. Wednesday’s aren’t the same without it.
You never know which direction an episode will take. However, you do know you’ll be entertained.
To my mind, here’s why That Peter Crouch Podcast works:
They’re not afraid to alienate listeners. They know if they try to please everyone, they’ll be loved by no one.
They’re humble. They show up to every episode to entertain listeners.
Listeners are integral to the show. The podcast wouldn’t work without them.